Johnson & Johnson must pay US$4.14 billion in punitive damages to women who claimed asbestos in the company's talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. Attorneys argued the pharmaceutical company sold and potentially still sells talc products, like baby powder, contaminated with asbestos - a mineral found in talc that has been linked to lung cancer. But the prosecution lawyer told the Missouri court that the FDA and Johnson & Johnson had used flawed testing methods. Divan writes that despite the eye-catching headlines, in the majority of the talc lawsuits (more than 9,000 as of the first quarter), which have produced higher damage awards, the company has been able to overturn most of the unfavorable rulings.
J&J shares fell $1.31, or 1 per cent, to $126.45 in after-hours trading following the punitive damages award.
"For over 40 years, Johnson & Johnson has covered up the evidence of asbestos in their products", said Mr. Lanier.
J&J in a statement called the trial "fundamentally unfair" and said it would appeal the decision. Each of the women suffer from ovarian cancer, and allege that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson's baby powder is the cause.
The company "remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer and intends to pursue all available appellate remedies", it said in a statement. Colgate has settled some lawsuits, including a mesothelioma case just prior to the start of the scheduled trial this week in Los Angeles.
Fiona Osgun, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, added: "Scientists are studying the link between women using talcum powder on their genitals and ovarian cancer and so far the evidence doesn't give a clear picture". Valeant now faces suits over the body powder. Five plaintiffs were from Missouri, with others from states that include Arizona, New York, North Dakota, California, Georgia, the Carolinas and Texas.
Along with jurisdictional arguments, Beisner said the company would continue to put forth its case that scientific studies overwhelmingly show talc itself is safe and the company's talc-based products never contained asbestos.
The punitive part of the St. Louis verdict may be particularly vulnerable to post-trial challenges or appeals.
The jury awarded the $550 million (around Rs 3,800 crore) to the petitioners, who had claimed that the asbestos found in the product was carcinogenic. The U.S. Supreme Court has said such punishment awards must be proportional to compensatory damage verdicts that underlie them. The amount marks the largest jury award in the USA in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and the sixth-largest jury verdict in a product-defect claim in United States history. "J&J has a good shot at knocking it down".
Lawyers frequently talk about big jury awards - and they frequently note that St. Louis is one such location where big jury awards happen with frequency.
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This is something all of us have in us, and it will be in us to the very last moment". "There is a balance to all of that". "If we win, we can look back on it with a lot of pleasure, and that is what it is all about".
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